Elective egg freezing holds promise for women who want to preserve their fertility and delay childbearing. Approximately 1,000 babies have been born using eggs that were previously frozen, and there is no evidence of increased risk to mothers or children born from this procedure.
However, you must think of egg freezing as you would any investment. Invest when you are younger for the reward when you are older.
The younger and healthier your eggs are, the more likely it is that you will be able to conceive later with this technology. (But there are no guarantees.)
With egg freezing, the best outcomes are for women who are younger than 35 when their eggs are frozen. Most fertility clinics encourage women to think about this option in their late 20s to early 30s if they do not have a reproductive partner.
Some fertility clinics may offer egg freezing up to age 40, while others may establish an earlier cut-off date; for example, 38 years old with a normal FSH and AMH hormone test.
Unfortunately, many women don't even start thinking about freezing their eggs until they are approaching 40. Researchers from Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York found that most women interested in freezing their eggs waited until they were in their mid-to-late 30s (37 to 39), a time when they are already experiencing the natural decline of their fertility.
The scientists analyzed raw data from 26 studies conducted between 1986 and 2010 that reported on in vitro fertilization (IVF)/intracytoplasmic injection (ICSI) pregnancies from mature frozen eggs. The analysis included 1,990 cycles using eggs frozen with a slow-freezing protocol and 291 cycles using eggs frozen via vitrification.
The researchers found that women were more likely to conceive if their eggs were frozen when they were under 30.
- For slow-frozen eggs, the likelihood of the embryo created implanting declined from 10.4 percent in women whose eggs were frozen when they were under 30 to 4.7 percent in women over 40.
- For women whose eggs were vitrified, the implantation rate ranged from 18.8 percent in women whose eggs were frozen under 30 to 10.3 percent in women over 40.
When pursuing elective egg freezing, it is important to understand that the younger you are make the decision, the more likely you are to achieve your fertility goals.